Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Clearly, this is basically a reference work. Every railroad buff and rail-
road historian should find it useful.
North Texas State University E. DALE ODOM
Lone Star and Double Eagle: Civil War Letters of a German-Texas
Family. By Minetta Altgelt Goyne. (Fort Worth, Tex.: Texas
Christian University Press, 1982. Pp. iv+276. Preface, photo-
graphs, notes, bibliography, index. $15.)
When Minetta Altgelt Goyne came into possession of the von
Coreth letters that constitute this addition to German Texana, she
recognized in them "the stuff of a story with a symmetry often lacking
in consciously constructed works" (p. iv). Her assessment is correct,
and her writing breathes life into these historical documents. Her
competent translations are woven into a loose narrative, beginning
with a historical overview of the Tyrolean von Coreths and ending
with a moving epilogue. While the letters put flesh onto the bare
bones of some contentious episodes of Texas Civil War history, Goyne
shows the present-day reader what parameters defined the von Coreths'
actions and judgments.
The Texas von Coreths may be described as well-disguised actors of
considerable capacity who played small parts on a minor stage. They
reveal themselves obscurely. Their purpose for emigrating in 1846
is perhaps not entirely clear even to Goyne. Indeed the book raises
more questions about the von Coreths and allied families than it
answers. Their letters show retreat, withdrawal, and reticence-what
we might describe as Victorian or Biedermeier attitudes.
Nonetheless, the book regales the reader through anecdotal detail:
Baron John O. Meusebach's brewing and retailing, the naivete of
young recruits, the little tidbits of class distinction, the self-perceived
superiority of the Germans in acclimating, the procuring of oysters
when military rations were scarce, the purchasing of silk handkerchiefs
when the war had inflated the price of cotton to unconscionable
levels, the gallows humor of AWOL enlistees, the fact that whatever
other shortages the Coreth soldiers endured, they always had good
pens (the Anglos, when they borrowed these pens, invariably spread
the points), and the miffed condescension of Private Rudolf Coreth,
grandson of an Austerlitz veteran and son of a graduate of Austria's
elite military Theresianum, who lost election to a lieutenancy by one
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed June 2, 2015.